Monday, April 18, 2011

Stronger than iron

Last year we learned that G had become anemic because of a nutritional deficiency. This was diagnosed a month after a long stint in institutions: 3 days in the hospital and 4 weeks in rehab because of an unidentified and very unfriendly virus. It took months of iron supplements (and battling the side effects) to get G back to normal. In retrospect, it was likely a result of his not eating well while in rehab. If one ate all the meal offerings, one would probably be fine, but because his appetite was suppressed, G did not eat well.

To prevent a recurrence during G's current stay in rehab, I wanted to them include more good iron sources of the foods that G is likely to eat.

Raisins, for one, which G eats at home with his oatmeal every morning.

Legumes for another, and G loves bean soup. Every time I make the soup, he smiles and tells me how good it is. Lekker.

After discussing this plan with the nutritionist, she agreed to include raisins with G's breakfast oatmeal and to allow me to bring a thermos of heated bean soup when I visit in the morning for them to offer him at lunch.

The raisins were implemented successfully, but getting the staff to serve the soup as part of G's lunch has been a challenge. Sometimes it gets served, and sometimes the thermos is placed in the fridge in the nurses' station, where I find it, still full of soup, but now cold soup, when I arrive at rehab after work .

I added a label that says, "Hot! Do not refrigerate!" That doesn't always work, either.

I think we've got everyone trained now, and I've included a clementine in the lunch offering, as iron is absorbed more efficiently when eaten with foods rich in Vitamin C.

One must be strong when dealing with institutions.

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